In the early 1950s, family doctors noticed a spike in cases of lung cancer, particularly among patients too young to be developing tumours by chance. They noticed too that these patients were typically heavy smokers. But the only evidence they had was anecdotal and there was a limited number of studies . It would take researchers another 10 years to scientifically establish the health harms of tobacco – too late for millions of smokers. But, all along, strong corroborating evidence already existed; it had just never made it out of the labs of the big tobacco firms. This is a stark example of how lives depend on the flow of medical data and evidence. The same is true today – perhaps even more so. We have wider and richer medical data than at any point in history. The potential then to save lives and improve health has never been […]